What are the common mistakes that you want to avoid in your essay?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,254
    College counselor Jerome A. Cole, MA discusses the common mistakes that you want to avoid when writing your college essay.

    Speaker: What are the common mistakes that you want to avoid in your essay?

    Jerome Cole: I think the most obvious one is, you want to follow the instructions on a college application. There will be very specific instructions on what they want and what they do not want. So, for example, one application may say, we want a 500 word essay that talks about, why you want to come to our institution. So you do not want to turn in a 1,500 word essay that talks about your trip to Guatemala because that is not following the instructions obviously. So you do not want to do that. So that is the first mistake that you want to avoid. The second one is -- and I will use that question that I just mentioned about why you want to come to a particular school, if you are writing an essay for School 'X', you want to make sure that in that essay you do not talk about your desire to go to School 'Y' and that is the common occurrence that kids do because they re writing multiple essays and so it is very easy to say, well, this school wanted me to write an essay on why I wanted to attend their university.

    This other school, where they ask the exact same question, so I am just going to write the same essay; I am just going to switch the names. Well, that is the common thing that kids do, but it very easy to mix the names up and you want to make sure that you do not do that. So, that is the mistake that you want to avoid.

    Then I think the very last one is, you want to make sure that the essay talks about you. It talks about you as a person. When I am reading that essay, if I am a college, when I am reading that essay, I want to learn something, that I am not going to find you transcript, that I am not going to see when I look at your test scores, that I am not going to see necessarily in a letter of recommendation, something that tells me about you. So, the common mistake the most common mistake that you want to avoid is not talking about you.